This competition honors Jessie Redmon Fauset, a Lawnside native and Harlem Renaissance writer and poet. The theme for this year's poetry competition is "Respect." It comes from a pivotal case in the African-American past that demonstrates how little black life mattered in U.S. history. In 1846, Missouri bondsperson Dred Scott filed for his and his family’s freedom based on their earlier transportation to a free state. The case arrived at the U.S. Supreme Court after 10 years of litigation. In 1857, the high court ruled 7-2 against the Scotts in what is known as the Dred Scott decision. It argued black people “had no rights, which the white man was bound to respect.”
Consider these questions as you create your poem: "What does it mean to be respected? How do you define respect? What are the ways in which people, groups, and societies have been disrespected? Do certain groups receive more respect than others? Who do you respect, and why? How has society used certain definitions of respect to police or control others? How can we begin to respect others? Do people deserve respect even if they don’t appear to respect themselves?"
ELIGIBILITY AND RULES
Fifth through twelfth grade students who reside in Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties may submit entries. Format: Each entry should have a title and must consist of sonnets, ballads, rhymes or other poetic genres. No profanity permitted.
DEADLINE: May 9, 2016